Incidentally, Hyderabad-based Spectrum Renewable Energy Private Ltd is expected to provide the bio-CNG and an engine of a commercial vehicle for detailed testing that will include testing of emission levels, engine performance under different conditions and other technical specifications.
Primary tests even revealed sufficient generation of bio-CNG is cost-effective. And, it's for the first time that compressed natural gas is produced from bagasse of sugar factory. Agharkar Research Institute has,incidentally, helped in extracting methane from biogas and converting biogas into CNG presently being used as fuel in New Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.
In order to create an estimate of production and conversion costs, fuel efficiency and money saved if vehicles run on bio-CNG than conventional alternatives, the ministry had asked for tests to be conducted. The first pilot project is set up at Warnanagar near Kolhapur.
Compressed Natural Gas happens to be a very viable alternative to traditional fuels particularly for use in the automobile industry. Being low in pollutants, high in calorific value and heat yield, economical and available in abundance globally, CNG is the perfect alternative for most. Switching to CNG has its own host of benefits that include, for starters, a huge price saving. CNG costs about a third of the cost of Petrol in terms of calorific value resulting in substantial saving in fuel cost. Any investment made on the CNG kit is paid back within a short period.
Also, there's a 100 per cent Income Tax Depreciation that Corporate Organisations and firms can claim on the CNG Conversion Kit as this is a pollution controlling equipment. Organisations that buy CNG Conversion Kits should consult their Income Tax Consultants and avail of the depreciation benefits.
Importantly, for most consumers, the basic engine characteristics of a vehicle are retained even when it's converted to run on CNG. With a kit, the vehicle is capable of running either on Petrol or CNG at the flick of a switch on the dashboard.
The kit comprises of a cylinder used to store CNG, fitted with a shut-off valve and a safety burst disc. They are type-approved by the Chief Controller of Explosives, Government of India; the Vapour Bag which is used to enclose the cylinder valve and the pipes connecting it and is vented out of the car; the High Pressure Pipe that connects the refueling valve to the CNG Cylinder and Pressure Regulator; the Refueling Valveused to refuel the CNG cylinder; the Pressure Regulator with a Solenoid Valve to shutoff gas supply to the engine; the Gas-Air Mixerspecially designed to suit each engine model and precisely meters gas fed into the engine; the Petrol-Solenoid Valve that cut off petrol supply to the engine when run on CNG; the Selector Switchfitted at the dashboard, enabling the driver to choose either the CNG mode or the petrol mode of operation.
The gas solenoid goes off whenever the engine is switched off ensuring safety. It also serves as a fuel indicator for the quantity of CNG available in the cylinder.
Please ensure the CNG workshop is authorized and observes Safety Standards and Code of Practices in kit installation and commissioning. Also, ensure the kit, including the cylinder itself, must be of a type approved for the make of the car. You should strictly avoid buying components from different sources. Also never attempt to install the kit yourself.
Ensuring the car undergoes the mandatory pre-conversion checks and a complete and thorough leak test of the gas system is a must. The Installer's certificate must be collected from the workshop. Any modification or improvisation should only be done at an authorized workshop.
It pays to get acquainted with the mechanism of CNG and the regulatory precautions essential. Importantly, in case of an accident which could be symptomatic of a larger issue with the vitals, get the vehicle thoroughly checked by an authorized workshop and obtain re-certification. While fitting your vehicles with an additional CNG kit system, ensure the additional systems is covered by the insurance company lest you land up having to pay a fortune should you meet with an accident.
Having a bi-fuel option is a huge draw for most vehicle owners. Vehicles can be operated in Petrol-CNG mode or Diesel-CNG and experiments of these kinds have been conducted on vehicles by TELCO, Ashok Leyland, IBP and Gujarat Road Transport Corporation.
Several countries all over the world have huge reserves of natural gas and it's only a matter of time before CNG gets as prevalent as petroleum products.
Source: The Times of India Feb 19, 2013, 11.39AM IST